The Institute has recently acquired, through the Ethel Morris Van Derlip Fund, another masterpiece of French nineteenth-century painting, The Fugitives,
by Honoré Daumier. Better known as the most influential printmaker of his century, Daumier produced comparatively few paintings, most for his personal satisfaction, with the result that only a handful of museums can boast of possessing an important example like The Fugitives.
This mature work, executed in oil on canvas during the last decade or two of the artist's life, illustrates Daumier's profound humanitarian spirit. His successful handling of the theme of displaced humanity transcends topical events. His disciplined treatment of a provocative subject constitutes one of his great contributions to art. Daumier made frequent use of The Fugitives
as a theme, in drawing, sculpture and painting.The Institute's variation has fascinating history, having been first owned by the painter Charles Daubigny. For many years afterwards it belonged to a distinguished collector of Daumier's work, Paul Bureau, at whose sale it was purchased by the well-known dealer, Paul Rosenberg. The next owner was the American collector, Grace Rainey Rogers of New York from whose estate it has been acquired by the Institute through The Museum of Modern Art.The painting has been shown in a number of loan exhibitions, including the first Daumier retrospective exhibition organized in Paris in 1878, the year before the artist's death. It has since been in exhibitions in Paris, New York, London and Chicago.Referenced Work of Art
- Three Fugitives by Honoré Daumier (1808-1879). Daumier's visionary caravan of destitute refugees bowed by tragedy and forcing their way toward an unknown future is a variant of a theme which haunted the artist's imagination throughout his life. Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Fund. Oil on canvas. 15 3/8” x 27 1/8”.